March of Dimes addresses consequences of opioid abuse epidemic on the health of newborns

| Thursday, July 9, 2015

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Boston, MA, July 09, 2015 —

The March of Dimes Massachusetts Chapter commends Governor Baker, Secretary Marylou Sudders and the entire Opioid Addiction Working Group on their recommendations for the opioid epidemic and specifically Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

In addition to the increase of opioid use and overdoses, the state of Massachusetts has seen a stark increase in use of either illegal or prescription drugs during pregnancy.  Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) refers to cases in which newborns experience drug withdrawal shortly after birth due to drug exposure in utero.

“Working with both the Attorney General and Secretary Sudders it was evident that they had the upmost concern for moms and babies in our State,” Ed Doherty Chapter Director of the March of Dimes said.  “We applaud them for taking a concern in NAS and reflecting our recommendations in the work group’s report.”

The March of Dimes is supporting policy initiatives aimed at providing care for mother and baby.  These include: access to comprehensive services, priority access to treatment, and provider education.

Research has shown that obtaining prenatal care, staying connected to the health care system, and being able to speak openly with health care providers about drug use creates a safer environment for mothers at risk of drug abuse to seek treatment that can improve birth outcomes.

In addition to making recommendations to the task force the March of Dimes is working with the Neonatal Quality Improvement Collaborative – a voluntary organization of newborn health care providers in Massachusetts.  The group has convened 42 of the 50 hospitals in the State to share practices and data about how to better care for NAS babies and their mothers.

“The opioid epidemic does not discriminate race, socioeconomic background, geography or age,” Doherty said.  “We look forward to continuing our work with legislative leaders who have shown a true understanding to this and a compassion for what it takes to help mothers and babies.”

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at  For the latest resources and information, visit or Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.




About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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